Monday, May 22, 2017

Witch Hill

Last night when I came back, Shane and me had a new room mate. Izzy, a young woman from England. We got talking a bit and found out that both of us had nothing planned for today, so we decided to do a hike together. Most of the others in the hostel had to work as it was Monday, so in the morning after breakfast and making some sandwiches for lunch, the both of us headed out towards the mountains on the other side of Christchurch.
I've sort of come to not liking Christchurch that much. I'm sure it is an interesting city for people who like bar crawls and history of earth quake stricken city's, but for one as me that enjoys the rural areas more, it just isn't my sort of thing. A few days to view a couple of things, but not weeks. So the past few days have seen me increasingly driving to the foothills and beaches to get away from the town. Today was no different and once the car had been parked Izzy and me set of up through a valley to the top of one of the hills. The valley turned out to be a lot nicer than I had anticipated. Before leaving I'd done a short look at the semi-planned route from a satellite picture which showed no features what so ever, just shrubs and rocks. At the bottom of the valley we encountered an older women on a bike clearing the path from a tree that had fallen over and gave her a hand until the bulk of it had been taken of the track. Walking up we got our shoes and trousers muddy, as the rain and cold of the past few days had not helped in keeping/getting the track dry. To both our advantage it meant that the track was closed for mountain bikers, as that took a bit of the watchfulness out of walking. Still, paying attention was a must, as the same reason it was closed for the bikers meant that we were slipping and sliding across the tracks at occasions.
Further up we were meet by some sheep (what were we to expect, it is NZ after all) and saw some fellow hikers and bikers on the tarmac road running along the top of the ridge. The same one I had traversed the day prior. Once we reached that it was a short walk further before we got of the road again to hike up a hill known as Witch Hill. Getting up was a short but exhausting experience. I thought that Izzy was up behind me the entire way as I couldn't hear her huffing as much as I was, but it turned out (rather funnily) that she was thinking the exact same thing. Reached the top and had a brilliant view of the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch underneath us and the Southern Alps in the distance.
Short note: It is really weird for me to say that any other mountain range in the world is the Alps, coming from the original, but that's what they are called.
Once pictures had been taken and warm clothes put on, back down it went. The day was a lot better than the previous one, with not a cloud in site and the wind had slightly died down, but the air was still chilly. Had a quick stop for lunch once we got in to a wind sheltered area along the Summit Road again and then proceeded to walk down a bike track back in to the valley. Looking at some of the trails there, I had to think how much skill you need to come down there. Some of the tracks I would not touch with my mountain bike, but then again it's probably built more for downhill biking. Going down on foot was interesting enough, as the wet earth and pine needles were a challenge to manoeuvre. We reached a walk able track once we got down in to the valleys again and carried on until we got back in to town. Then it was only about half an hours walk to the car. On the way we got ambushed by a cat that wanted some cuddles, weird behaviour for a feline.

Back at the car, back to the hostel with a quick stop for some shopping and then to put the legs up. A really nice walk with some good scenery on a day just made for being outside.  

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